Louisville may be known first and foremost for the Derby, but its counter-culture coffee shop scene is unrivaled in the south. From cozy little cafes down by the river to clean industrial storefronts in the heart of downtown, there are no shortage of places to grab a cup of joe. But for the true coffee aficionado, what’s on the menu may not suffice. Java gurus and caffeine junkies are wise to the secret menus waiting to be discovered at coffee shops across Louisville, and the offerings are simply superb. So tasty, in fact, we didn’t this it was fait to keep these exquisite coffee creations a secret any longer! So, we did a little reconnaissance on the hipster coffee beat and discovered some incredibly delicious drinks. Here are the best top-secret menu items Louisville’s coffee scene has to offer.

The Necromancy at Safai

1707 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205 • (502) 384-3555
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Nestled on the south side of Bardstown road, Safai is equal parts hidden gem and local staple. With a cozy wooden interior and a full bar ready to stock, it has a massive enough menu to keep you delighted with new flavors. If the menu has your head spinning, start by asking for ‘The Necromancy,’ a blackberry-and-dark-chocolate mocha with a rich fruity taste sure to bring your taste buds back to life. As a bonus, the baristas are trained to make any of their fantastic seasonal drinks on request year-round.

Try 'The Necromancy' at Safai. Image: Safai

Try ‘The Necromancy’ at Safai. Image: Safai

RELATED: We Went to a Coffee Cupping and Here’s What We Learned

The Coffee Float at Full Stop

1132 E St Catherine St, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 260-8046
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A relative newcomer to the coffee scene, Full Stop’s quaint Shelby Park location marries the charm of an old-timey filling station and hip up and coming coffee joint. With a clean white paint job and a retro feel, going to Full Stop feels like coming home. For the savvy coffee enthusiast, try asking for a coffee float, a unique mixture of sparkling water and cold brew with house-made vanilla and a scoop of Louisville Cream on top. If you’re looking to take your tastebuds for a treat, you can’t get much better than this.

Try the The Coffee Float at Full Stop. Image: Full Stop

Try the The Coffee Float at Full Stop. Image: Full Stop

Iced Vietnamese Coffee at Bean

1138 Goss Ave, Louisville, KY 40217 • (502) 785-4079
Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bean is one of Louisville’s best-kept secrets, and once you visit, you’ll know why. Its unique location is a favorite for locals and any tourists lucky enough to stumble upon it. For the adventurers out there, try asking for an Iced Vietnamese coffee prepared with Ethiopian coffee. This is a one-of-a-kind treat you can’t find anywhere else in the city, so give it a try the next time you’re in the neighborhood.

Try the Iced Vietnamese Coffee at Bean. Image: Bean

Try the Iced Vietnamese Coffee at Bean. Image: Bean

Vint Julip Iceberg at Heine Brothers’

Heine Brothers’ has 17 locations in the Louisville, KY area — Find yours here.

Heine Brothers‘ seasonal Derby drink, the Vint Julip is a latte that features bourbon-smoked sugar and mint julep sugar from Louisville’s own Bourbon Barrel Foods. This popular drink is no secret at Louisville’s largest local coffee chain, but its iced “sister sipper,” the Vint Julep Iceberg, flies a little further under the radar. With the same signature bourbon flair, blended and cold enough to cool you off on a hot summer’s day, the Vint Julep Iceberg is an unforgettable hidden treat perfect for a scalding Derby day.

Try the Vint Julip Iceberg at Heine Brothers'. Image: Heine Brothers'

Try the Vint Julip Iceberg at Heine Brothers’. Image: Heine Brothers’

RELATED: The 6 Louisville Donut Shops You’ve Simply Gotta Try

Campfire Latte at Quill’s Coffee

Quill’s Coffee has multiple locations — find yours here.

This barista-built seasonal drink, while a staple of the fall months, is available all year long if you know who to ask. With a roasted marshmallow popped in the middle of a cinnamon latte, the Campfire Latte is a true hidden gem with a rich taste that evokes the feeling s’mores enjoyed by a crackling campfire on a crisp fall evening. If you’re missing fall, Quill’s has you covered.

Try the Campfire Latte at Quill's Coffee. Image: Quill's Coffee

Try the Campfire Latte at Quill’s Coffee. Image: Quill’s Coffee

Cafe Con Leches at Sunergos

2122 South Preston St, Louisville, KY 40217 • (502) 634-1243
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

306 West Woodlawn Ave, Louisville, KY 40214 • (502) 368-2820
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

231 South 5th St, Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 589-3222
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1647 Norris Place, Louisville, KY 40205 • (502)919-9676
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunergos takes a different approach to their menu than a lot of their contemporaries. Instead of a hard list of items to choose from, their selection is a starting point for customers to journey off into the java-fueled wilderness. Let the baristas lead you towards the java that gets your mojo flowin’! Particularly at the Norris location, Sunergos has gained local renown for some out-of-this-world Cafe Con Leches, a mixture of scalding milk and strong and mild beans. This Latin-American classic is well worth it.

Try the Cafe Con Leche at Sunergos. Image: Sunergos

Try the Cafe Con Leche at Sunergos. Image: Sunergos

Now, add these fab drinks to your coffee-beverage bucket list!


For the best of eating and drinking in Louisville, read more here.